West of England: African, European Ports Identified as Stowaway Hot Spots

Over the past year up to 60 cases involving 220 stowaways, costing over USD 1.6 million to rectify, have been reported, London-based marine insurer West of England P&I said.

An analysis of the lasting issue of stowaways onboard entered vessels has shown that stowaways from European ports have increased noticeably in recent years.

The high number of such cases from European ports involving UK entered vessels have exclusively involved stowaways boarding RORO ferries, usually hiding in trailers, and where Northern European ports are concerned, these vessels have all been trading from the listed boarding ports to the United Kingdom.

However, African ports still predominate, with Nigeria’s Lagos being the most prolific African port for stowaways by number of stowaways and number of cases. In recent years the West of England P&I has experienced several incidents whereby large numbers of stowaways (10+) have boarded a vessel in Lagos in a single incident. Durban in South Africa and Douala in Cameroon have also been problematic, the club added.

The Managers therefore “strongly recommend that vessels visiting, in particular, African ports and Northern European Ports when destined for the United Kingdom, ensure robust anti-stowaway measures are in place at all times.”

As regards the typical stowaway hiding places on board, the void space surrounding the rudder trunk continues to be popular. It is therefore recommended that a substantial metal grating be welded in position, clear of the full movement of the rudder stock, to discourage stowaways from attempting to hide in this location, the club informed.

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